Hoboken TBT: The History of the Madison Bar and Grill {Formerly the Madison Hotel}

Written by:

Tell Marty McFly to get ready, because it’s time for a little #HobokenTBT! This week’s Hoboken throwback is dedicated to the Madison Bar & Grill — formerly known as the Madison Hotel. Now of course, we all know the Madison as of late for its delish weekend brunch and late-night ’90s dance parties. But, prior to the Madison being a bar and restaurant, the venue was formerly a hotel, owned by the Vezzetti family. And if the walls of the Madison could talk — they’d have a lot to tell. Here’s the story behind this landmark-turned-restaurant/bar.


^ The hotel bar, circa 1980s — via

Thomas F. Vezzetti, born in 1928, was the 33rd elected Mayor of Hoboken, and also the owner and manager of the uptown hotel known as one of our uptown bar favorites today. Vezzetti was born in the area and grew up at 912 Castle Point Terrace {not a bad street if we do say so ourselves}. After returning to Hoboken from the Navy in 1954 and decided to curate a hotel in town. Patrons of the hotel consisted of mostly men having drinks at the hotel bar and checking in for a night or two, according to the Jersey Journal.

While Vezzetti was known for his rabble-rousing ways in town council meetings, he had a soft spot for the men who were staying at the hotel — especially those who indulged a little too much with their cocktails. Truth be told, he would carry the men up them up to their respective staircases in the hotel and tuck them into bed to avoid them driving home, according to the JJWhat a good Samaritan! 


^Madison Hotel bottom floor, circa 1970s — via

When the bar would close, instead of going home, reports say Vezzetti would actually sleep on a pool table {above!} to scare off the burglars {I mean, the only thing better than a security camera is a real, live human, that’s fo sho!}. Some serious dedication to your biz. 

Unfortunately it wasn’t all bedtime stories and post-bar tuck-ins: a fire occurred in 1977 at the locale, tragically killing one of the Madison Hotel’s patrons. Vezzetti was on the scene at the time, and he is credited by the Deputy Fire Chief at the time for saving the lives of a lot of the men who were drinking there when the fire happened. He was distraught over the death of the man, however, and decided to sell the bar. He went on to get heavily into politics in town {including becoming the Mayor of Hoboken}. Sadly, however, 10 years later, Vezzetti died at a young 59 years of age of a heart attack. Medics at Hoboken Hospital were unable to revive him.

While the memory of Vezzetti definitely is an interesting backstory, in the ’90s and into today, the Madison Bar & Grill has become a go-to spot for Hoboken residents and out-of-towners. It still has that old-school feel to it — with its long and gorgeous bar, quaint dining room with actual tin ceilings, and outdoor seating for warmer weather. But of course the spot has become more of a family-friendly environment during the day —  with a dance space late night {shoutout to DJ Luv 12!}.


Madison Bar & Grill, circa 2016 — via

Kind of fun what you uncover when you get down and dirty with a little history, eh? So, next time you plan on stopping by the Madison Bar & Grill, always remember that you may be standing or sitting where former Mayor Vezzetti was sleeping on a pool table or attending to tipsy men during the night.

Have a unique story about old-school Hoboken? Email us photos/your story to hello@hobokengirl.com. We love to hear from you!

Written by:

Aida is a full-time reporter for the Town News, a part of North Jersey Media Group, and she received her Bachelor’s in Journalism from NJCU back in 2012. When she isn’t out investigating sources and digging up interesting Hoboken history, she is training at CKO kickboxing in Hoboken. Aida is Instagram and food-obsessed {and you can see her love of both by searching the hashtag #adamandaidatakethecity}. Aside from eating her way around town, Aida spends time shopping in NYC, reading actual books {no e-books to be found}, and spending quality time with her boyfriend, parents, older brother, and cocker poodle, Benji.